Where in the world is God? That is the question, which is answered for you in this Holy Gospel.
It is His Word that points you and guides you and brings you to Him, even as it is by His Word that He is with you here on earth. Indeed, He is with you, here and now, by His Word.
He reveals and gives Himself to you in the most unlikely of ways and places; which is among the reasons why you will not find Him, nor will you be able to recognize Him, except by His Word.
As from the beginning, everything happens according to the Word and promise of God. But what He does for you, and how He does it, is where and when you least expected Him to be and to act.
Surely no one is looking for a king from within the house and lineage of David, not in the days of great Caesar Augustus and the mighty Roman Empire. Far less does anyone expect the Son of God in the flesh, who is Christ the Lord, our Savior. Yet, as the Lord has promised, so it is.
Not in Nazareth, where Mary and Joseph are from; nor in Jerusalem, where the Temple and the king’s palace are found. But in the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, the “house of bread,” that is where the Living Bread from heaven now appears and is given for the life of the world.
Appropriately, this Bread of Life is laid in a manger, a feeding trough, because ye sons of men, and ye daughters, too, are called to feed on Him, to eat and drink His flesh and blood, to be forgiven all your sins, and so to live on Him.
And He is wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in the manger, because He has come naked from His Mother’s womb into this world, as He shall hang naked on the Cross for the sins of the world, and then be swaddled in shrouds and laid in the tomb (where your bed should otherwise be made).
These are the sacred signs that have been given and repeated, first of all to the shepherds then, and to the Church on earth ever since, including now to you. The Word marks the place where the Christ Child is to be found, who is the Lord your God, the Savior and Redeemer of mankindThe Word is still manifested to shepherds, as they guard and keep their flocks, by night as by day: to the pastors of Christ’s sheep and lambs, who are fed upon the pastures of that Holy Word.
The pastors are pointed and led to the Christ Child in the House of Bread, in His Manger Bed, and thence return to make know the Glory of God in Christ to the flocks of His Church, to the sheep of this Good Shepherd.
Thus are you called by the messengers of the Lord to find and receive your Savior, Christ Jesus, in this “Bethlehem” of His Church: Swaddled in the paraments and linens, cradled in the vessels of the Holy Communion, and laid for you upon the feed trough of His Holy Altar in the bread and wine which, at His Word, are His holy Body born of Mary, given for you; and His precious Blood outpoured, for you and for the many, for the forgiveness of all your sins, unto life and salvation.
Here, then, according to the Word of God, is the true Christ Mass; at which, no less, you are joined by the choirs of angels in singing the majestic hymn of Christ’s Holy Church: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth! Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth, heaven and earth are full of Thy Glory! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord, and blessed are you in Him, who is here with you in Peace, evermore and evermore.
In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Old Lutheran Quote of the Day
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